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I’m Hopelessly Devoted to the Qunari Woman in Netflix’s ‘Dragon Age’ Series

I love you, Qwydion, let me count the ways...

Qwydion Qunari Dragon Age Absolution

Now that the long-awaited Dragon Age: Absolution animated series is streaming on Netflix, I’m hopeful the show will bring a ton of new converts to the fandom. As a longtime fan, I’m so happy with everything about this show. It’s a new Dragon Age story that feels like a side quest from one of the video games. The plot is basically a good old-fashioned heist, but with more drama and magic.

In the usual Dragon Age style, there’s a core crew that boils down to four different personality types and fighting specialties: Rogue elf Miriam (Kimberly Brooks) leads the group. We also have grumpy warrior dwarf Lacklon (Keston John), who totally has an immediate crush on flirty warrior human Roland (Phil LaMarr). I enjoyed all the new characters, but the heart of the group—and my favorite—is Qunari mage Qwydion (Ashly Burch).

A quick Qunari rundown

The Qunari are actually followers of the Qun (a strict, almost militaristic philosophy), not a race. Anyone—elf, dwarf, or human—can become Qunari. The beings we usually refer to as Qunari are known as Vashoth amongst themselves. (For the sake of my sanity and clarity, I will just be referring to them as Qunari like they primarily do in the games.) They are tall, muscular humanoids with metallic-colored skin and white hair. Unlike the rest of the people in Dragon Age, they also have distinctive horns. There is a theory that Qunari somehow have dragon blood, hence the horns.

In the Dragon Age video games, almost every Qunari has the same stoic and serious vibe. This has a lot to do with them following the strict lifestyle rules of the Qun—it seems like the Qun doesn’t allow for much humor, fun, or partying. Another buzzkill of following the Qun is the deep mistrust of any Qunari who demonstrates magical abilities. If a mage appears in their ranks, their horns and tongue are cut off. They are held under constant restraint and have a guard watching them at all times. If they ever wander out of their assigned watcher’s sight, the mage must be executed or commit suicide to save their honor. It seems like a downer way to live, but to each their own.

Also, the vast majority of Qunari in the games are male. It isn’t until Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third game in the series, that we even see a horned female Qunari. Even then, we don’t really learn much about female Qunari because she is one of the playable character options and her personality is based on basic game information and the player’s choices. I’m not complaining, though I have only played Inquisition as a strong female Qunari warrior. I just wish there were more Qunari women to interact with.

A Qunari unlike any other

If you have watched Dragon Age: Absolution, you know that Qwydion doesn’t seem like the average Qunari. She may have the classic look, but her personality is completely different. While we don’t get any information about her backstory in the first six-episode season, it stands to reason that she doesn’t follow the Qun because she is a free, powerful mage with her tongue and horns intact.

In contrast to other Qunari, Qwydion has a fantastic sense of humor and serves as comic relief in the series. She also shows her emotions freely and seems to have a big heart. One of my favorite things about Qwydion is her penchant for screaming and using expletives. She runs from overwhelming hoards and shouts at rage demons—something I can totally relate to. Watching Qwydion was an almost surreal experience. It was like seeing my Dragon Age character on-screen with my own shrieking reactions as her dialogue.

Maybe it’s because Qunari have dragon blood, or maybe it’s because she’s female, but Qwydion had an ability we’ve never seen the Qunari use before: During a tense battle scene, she soothes an angry dragon and heals it all by herself. She’s so special that even the dragon gets it. Many in the fandom think that Qwydion might become a companion and romance option in the upcoming fourth game, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf—she is the only character on the show to not have a romantic link, and she looks similar to a character who appears in Dreadwolf concept art. Whether it’s in the show or the games (or both, both is good), Qwydion deserves more screen time. She’s a sweet, beautiful badass who can carry another person. Basically, she is perfect.

(featured image: Netflix)

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D.R. Medlen is secretly a selkie that will one day return to the sea. In the meantime, she spends her days fangirling over anything from comic books to folklore podcasts, and everything in between. She lives that hobbitcore life while teaching her offspring the ways of the nerd.